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Raising Funds By Mail For Your Nonprofit
Using An Annual Direct Mail Program

by Berwyn J. Kemp


A good annual direct mail solicitation program can produce unrestrictive operating funds for your nonprofit organization year after year. And such an annual direct mail program, if done right, will produce more funding for your organization each year.

There are very few nonprofit organizations that couldn't benefit from an effective, and ongoing direct mail solicitation program.

If you're currently using annual direct mail solicitations and would like to use it more effectively, or if you're not using this form of fundraising but would like to set up such a program, Your nonprofit group should look into this.

Here are five success pointers:

  1. Expand your mailing list

    Increase the size of your list or build one if you're just starting your direct mail program.

    To do this ask yourself: Who are the most likely people to support your organizations financially?

    If you are already using direct mail the answer to this questions should be obvious to you, in which case you need to find more of these kinds of people.

    Some of the many ways to do this are using compiled lists, rented or leased lists of people who support similar causes, etc.

    If you aren't using direct mail now then start with users of your services and/or friends and family members of users of your services, then explore complied, and rented or leased lists next.

  2. Prepare a powerful direct mail package to solicit your list

    Include an appeal letter, and response form, a reply envelope, and of course an outer envelop to mail your package in that has the full legal name of your organization on it.

    In preparing your appeal letter by sure to make them emotional, interesting, and personal.

    Keep the focus of this letter on how those you serve will benefits from the gift as well as how the donor will benefit also.

    And always ask for their gift.

  3. Make a test mailing of your direct mail package

    Send it to a small portion of your donor prospect list, and keep in mind that in direct mail solicitations all new mailings are a test.

    Don't invest large sums of money into this endeavor until you're relatively sure that you can get a good return on your investment.

    Whether you are currently using direct mail or not, all your new mailings are for finding what's called "new acquisitions" which are needed by you to obtain more funds from your direct mail program each year.

  4. Evaluate your results very carefully

    Analyze the results of each of your test mailings for new donor acquisitions, and if your mailing earns a slight profit, simply breaks even, or perhaps even loses a little money you may be able to still call your test a success.

    In fact, if you spend $1.25 or a little more for every dollar you raise consider your test a success, because when you renew these donors, that is mail to them again, you can easily get 80-90% of them to make another gift.

    This is where you'll really earn your profits from direct mail solicitations.

  5. Renew your donors each year

    Build upon your direct mail successes by "renewing" your donors each year, that is getting them to make another gift.

    Continue to seek new donors to keep your direct mail list growing and more profitable each year, because if you don't continue to build your list it will grow smaller each year since donors move and stop giving for a variety of reasons.

Yes a good annual direct mail program can produce a regular and growing source of revenue for your organization year after when this fundraising methods is effectively used.

Now use these steps to help you set up, or expand your annual direct mail solicitation program to raise more of the funds you need to better serve those who need you.



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About the Author:

Berwyn J. Kemp is a development consultant who helps nonprofit organizations obtain funding.



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